15th Congress

Full text of Impeachment complaint against Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez

Text of the Impeachment Complaint filed on July 22, 2010

Republic of the Philippines

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

15TH CONGRESS

Quezon City

 

IN RE IMPEACHMENT OF OMBUDSMAN

MA. MERCEDITAS NAVARRO GUTIERREZ

 

RISA HONTIVEROS-BARAQUEL,

DANILO D. LIM, FELIPE PESTAÑO,

and EVELYN PESTAÑO,

Complainants.

x———————————————x

IMPEACHMENT COMPLAINT

COMPLAINANTS RISA HONTIVEROS-BARAQUEL, DANILO D. LIM, FELIPE

PESTAÑO, and EVELYN PESTAÑO, through undersigned counsel, respectfully state that –

PREFATORY STATEMENT

 

The Office of the Ombudsman was created under Article XI of the 1987 Constitution as an independent office intended to serve as “protector of the people” principally through taking prompt action on complaints filed against public officials and other employees of the government.

 

The primordial purpose of the Office the Ombudsman is to enforce public accountability among public officials, through, among other measures, investigating on its own, or upon complaint of any person any act or omission by a public official that appears to be “illegal, unjust, improper, or inefficient,” and, in appropriate cases, instituting the corresponding directives to or initiating prosecution of the responsible officials.

 

The Ombudsman is thus vested with expansive authority and broad discretion in fulfilling its mandate of enforcing public accountability within the ranks of the government service. It is expected not to merely stand as a passive receiver of complaints from the public, but to take a proactive role in rooting out corruption and impropriety in government. It is empowered not merely to enforce the express commands of black letter law but to take action on any act or omission that may be “unjust, improper, or inefficient.”

For in the end, the Office of the Ombudsman is envisioned as the ultimate bulwark that the Filipino people may rely on against government abuse and official corruption, from the lowest to the highest echelons of the public service.

 

Sadly, the current holder of this crucial Office, Ma. Merceditas Navarro-Gutierrez – in the nearly five years since her appointment to fill the vacancy created by the resignation of the previous Ombudsman, Simeon V. Marcelo – has failed to live up to this role.

During her watch, the Office of the Ombudsman, far from being an effective and reliable recourse for ordinary citizens seeking succor and relief from government abuse, has become a place where complaints of official wrongdoing go to languish, wither, and ultimately be forgotten. In many instances, some of which will be discussed in this Impeachment Complaint, Ombudsman Navarro-Gutierrez has unconscionably neglected to ensure that prompt and effective action is taken on complaints from the public filed with her office.

 

Similarly, the Office of the Ombudsman, under the stewardship of Navarro-Gutierrez, has become alarmingly and unjustifiably passive in taking on prominent issues involving corruption and malfeasance at the highest levels of government. Instead of instituting investigations on its own, as it is expressly empowered – in fact, arguably required – to do so by the Constitution, it has sat quietly even in the face of the most scandalous reports of official impropriety, waiting for private citizens, or other government offices, to take up the very causes it was created to address. This Impeachment Complaint will likewise take up some of these instances.

 

Finally, the effectiveness of the Office of the Ombudsman under Navarro-Gutierrez in holding erring public officials to account by instituting successful prosecutions before the appropriate courts and tribunals has likewise degraded to a distressing and unacceptable degree. As this Impeachment Complaint will again show, an empirical and objective assessment of the performance as prosecutor of the Office of the Ombudsman under Navarro-Gutierrez, clearly establishes an intolerable, if not criminal, level of incompetence.

source: Newsbreak

List of House committee chairs

List of House committee chairs
Philippine Daily Inquirer

MANILA, Philippines—President Benigno Aquino III’s Liberal Party (LP) dominates the chairmanships of various committees in the new House of Representatives.

The committees and their LP chairs are:

Appropriations: Cavite Rep. Joseph Emilio Abaya

Justice: Iloilo Rep. Niel Tupas Jr.

Ways and means: Batangas Rep. Hermilando Mandanas

Dangerous drugs: Iligan City Rep. Vicente Belmonte Jr.

Banks and financial intermediaries: Leyte Rep. Sergio Apostol

People’s participation: Manila Rep. Benjamin Asilo

Games and amusement: Manila Rep. Amado Bagatsing.

Paranaque City Rep. Roilo Golez (LP) has been named head of the House contingent in the Commission on Appointments.

Among the names being floated as members of Golez’s team were Camarines Sur Rep. Luis Villafuerte and Valenzuela City Rep. Rex Gatchalian from the Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC); Nueva Ecija Rep. Rodolfo Antonino, Palawan Rep. Antonio Alvarez, Maguindanao Rep. Simeon Datumanong, and Isabela Rep. Rodolfo Albano Sr. from Lakas-Kampi-CMD.

Non-LPs

The non-LP members picked to head committees were:

Rural development: Quezon Rep. Mark Enverga of the Nacionalista Party (NP)

Foreign affairs: Albay Rep. Al Franchis Bichara (NP)

Government enterprises: Zamboanga City Rep. Erico Basilio Fabian (NP)

Suffrage and electoral reforms: Cavite Rep. Elpidio Barzaga (Lakas-Kampi-CMD)

Public order and security: Cebu Rep. Pablo John Garcia (Lakas-Kampi-CMD)

Transportation: Southern Leyte Rep. Roger Mercado (Lakas-Kampi-CMD)

Labor and employment: Valenzuela Rep. Magtanggol Gunigundo (Lakas-Kampi-CMD)

Youth and sports: Camarines Sur Rep. Renato Unico (Lakas-Kampi-CMD).

Agriculture: Batangas Rep. Mark Llandro Mendoza (NPC);

Health: Bacolod City Rep. Rep. Anthony Golez (NPC)

Local government: Negros Oriental Rep. George Arnaiz (NPC)

Basic education: Sorsogon Rep. Salvador Escudero (United Opposition)

Higher education: Aurora Rep. Juan Edgardo Angara (Laban ng Demokratikong Pilipino)

Belmonte brings together much bigger House coalition

Belmonte brings together much bigger House coalition
By Gil C. Cabacungan Jr.
Philippine Daily Inquirer

MANILA, Philippines — A runaway winner in the battle for speakership, Quezon City Representative Feliciano Belmonte Jr. has forged an alliance in the House of Representatives much bigger than the “rainbow coalition” of then Speaker Jose de Venecia.

Unlike in the Senate where the battle for the presidency of that chamber went almost down the wire, the race for the speakership was settled fairly early—just days after the May 10 elections, when it was clear that Benigno S. Aquino III would emerge as the new President.

The only question then was how many would vote for Belmonte as the top honcho in the chamber, according to Mandaluyong City Rep. Neptali Gonzales II, who is set to be named as House majority leader and chairman of the House committee on rules.

Belmonte is expected to be formally elected Speaker when the 15th Congress holds its inaugural session on Monday.

About 220 to 230 representatives from the Liberal Party, Lakas-Kampi-Christian-Muslim Democrats, Nationalist People’s Coalition, Nacionalista Party, Pwersa ng Masang Pilipino and other parties and party-list groups were expected to vote for Belmonte. His colleagues said this was a reflection of Mr. Aquino’s current popularity.

“This is much bigger than former House Speaker Jose de Venecia’s much vaunted rainbow coalition,” Gonzales said.

Gonzales has yet to come up with a name for the Belmonte coalition after some members rejected his initial proposal to call it the “Coalition for Conscience and Reform.”

Belmonte was also the Speaker in the 11th Congress, before he served three straight terms as Quezon City mayor from 2001.

In an interview during a “show of force” meeting at Edsa Shangri-La Hotel on Friday, Belmonte refused to be caught up in the euphoria over his imminent election as Speaker, declining to talk about his plans before Monday’s voting.

Backed by Mr. Aquino’s mass support, Belmonte is expected to move bills much faster into laws, especially after the minority Lakas-Kampi-CMD party declared that it would not be a “contravida” in the 15th Congress, even though its leader is Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, whom Aquino had opposed when she was president.

“We will not be obstructionists. We will cooperate with the new administration to ensure that reforms promised by the new administration and which our party believes in will be implemented,” said Quezon Rep. Danilo Suarez.

Suarez has agreed to a term-sharing with Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman, who was likely to be elected minority leader on Monday. Suarez said he would take over the post after one and a half years.

Although the Liberal Party has only 70 members in the House—second to Lakas-Kampi’s 80—the party of Mr. Aquino expects to corner much of the spoils given to the ruling party.

Named deputies of incoming Speaker Belmonte, whose number has increased from four to six, are Quezon Rep. Lorenzo “Erin” Tañada, Northern Samar Rep. Raul Daza and Zamboanga City Rep. Maria Isabelle Climaco from the Liberal Party; Cavite Rep. Jesus Crispin Remulla from the Nacionalista Party; Camarines Sur Rep. Arnulfo Fuentebella from the Nationalist People’s Coalition; and Cebu Rep. Pablo Garcia from Lakas-Kampi-CMD.

Enrile is Senate President again

Enrile is Senate President again
By Christine O. Avendaño
Philippine Daily Inquirer

MANILA, Philippines — A survivor of many political wars is keeping his grip on the Senate presidency, after all.

Earlier thought to be on his way out, reelected Senator Juan Ponce Enrile clinched the Senate leadership Sunday night by obtaining the support of 21 senators — a powerful majority in the 23-member upper chamber of Congress.

Senators said the 86-year-old lawmaker from Cagayan was assured of his continued hold on his position following a series of meetings and sudden developments during the weekend.

The most dramatic was Sunday’s last-minute announcement by Senator Francis Pangilinan, the erstwhile candidate of Malacañang, that he was withdrawing from the Senate presidential race in order to unify the chamber.

“It’s a truly united Senate,” Senator Edgardo Angara told the Philippine Daily Inquirer, saying that all blocs in the chamber have come together to support Enrile as their chief.

It was the second time in the Senate’s recent history that all parties and blocs have backed a common leader, Angara said.

Curiously, both cases involved Enrile and both happened while an Aquino was at the country’s helm — the first during the presidency of the late Corazon Aquino and now, during the rule of her son, Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III.

“In the first Aquino administration, it was Senator Enrile who was the lone minority member in the Senate. Now under the second Aquino administration, he is the head of the unity Senate,” Angara said.

“He [Enrile] has come full circle,” he added.

In a phone interview, Angara credited the sudden turn of events to efforts of the Liberal Party (LP), Nacionalista Party (NP) of Sen. Manuel Villar Jr., and other blocs — including Angara’s — to come together and agree on a Senate President by the time the 15th Congress opens this Monday.

Since late last week, Pangilinan had been the frontrunner in the fight for the Senate leadership.

Enrile of the Pwersa ng Masang Pilipino only loomed as an alternative candidate after the NP and LP candidates failed to get the 13 votes needed to win the Senate presidency.

“Since neither side [Villar and Pangilinan] were able to make it, we agreed with Villar and the others that we need to elect one because it would be embarrassing for the Senate if we can’t rule even ourselves,” Angara said.

All different blocs “contributed” to the unity of the Senate, according to Angara.

He said Enrile was “the best option” because neither Pangilinan nor Villar was able to secure the 13 votes.

Angara said Senator Jose “Jinggoy” Estrada would remain as Senate President pro tempore, while Senator Vicente “Tito” Sotto would be the majority leader.

But with a unified Senate behind Enrile, Angara conceded that the question of who would be the minority leader was up in the air.

“We don’t know yet who would want to stand on the opposite aisle,” he said.

The Senate has 23 members with Aquino’s rise to the presidency. Only 21 of them can vote in Monday’s Senate presidency election.

Senator Antonio Trillanes IV remains detained while Senator Panfilo Lacson has yet to surface after he left the country six months ago while facing charges for the double murder of publicist Salvador “Bubby” Dacer and Dacer’s driver.

Estrada, like Enrile, committed to support Pangilinan but Estrada made it clear to the LP senator that he would only support him if Enrile did not make a bid for the Senate leadership.

Pangilinan lost support for his bid after party and administration allies late last week confronted him on whether he could secure the necessary numbers and later pushed Enrile to go for the presidency himself.

Enrile had said he would do so if the senators would be able to get him the numbers.

In a statement on Sunday, Pangilinan said he gave up his bid for the top Senate post because he “realized there are political realities and developments that prevent us from securing the needed 13 votes resulting in a deadlock or stalemate.”

“Much as I would like to go down fighting, I realize that to continue with my bid would keep the Senate fragmented and disunited. The disunity must now end. I believe I can help make it happen by voluntarily stepping aside,” he said.

“It has been a very difficult experience for me and my family, but if I had to do this all over again for the cause of genuine change and reforms for our nation, I would. I would like to thank our people for their prayers and support. We fought a good fight,” Pangilinan said.

Senators were meeting on Sunday to deal with the committee chairmanships. There are 27 chairmanships up for grabs.

Drilon and Estrada said they did not think Enrile’s leadership in the Senate would be a problem for President Aquino.

Drilon said that Enrile from the very start had supported Pangilinan’s bid until the latter was unable to get the needed votes.

Likewise, he said Enrile would support the administration’s legislative agenda because not only was the Senate “an institution which will respond to the needs of the country” but one was inclined to support a “popular” President such as Mr. Aquino.

Estrada agreed that Enrile would not be a problem for Mr. Aquino since the two men were very much in good terms in the Senate before.

Malacañang said on Sunday it still expected to deal with a Senate “friendly” to President Aquino despite the withdrawal of Pangilinan from the Senate presidential fight.

“We look forward to working and cooperating with a friendly Senate,” the President’s spokesperson, Edwin Lacierda, said. “It’s important that we have a friendly Senate [for] our legislative agenda.”

Lacierda said that in hoping for a friendly Senate, Malacañang was not fearing that the senators might scrutinize the Aquino administration for possible corruption.

“The Aquino administration has promised not to engage in any corrupt practices that’s why we are not afraid of that,” he said. “What we are more concerned of really is the legislative agenda the President has in mind, which will require cooperation from the Senate.”

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